My Dear Enemy

My Dear Enemy ★★★★★

Who would have thought that the days in Seoul were this long... And this comforting.

The title, My Dear Enemy, allows me to make a couple of assumptions about the movie. What immediately springs to mind is duality. A love-hate relationship. An emotional conflict. An oxymoron. Seems fitting enough I'd say, after watching the movie. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't prefer the literal translation of the Korean title: One Fine Day. One little, seemingly unimpactful day; even more proof that yes, even the shortest of moments can tinker with your fundamentals.

It's been one year since Hee-su, a woman in her thirties, saw Byeong-woo for the last time. It seems they had some romantic history together. Back then, she had lent him $3,500, with which he ran off without warning. Now, she has decided to seek him out after all that time, and get her money back. She looks for him at the racetrack he frequents, and he, surprised by her sudden appearance and demands, seems happy to see her. But she wants her money, and today. He doesn't have it on him, so they drive around Seoul to meet apparent girlfriends of Byeong to hopefully collect some money. Gee, I wonder if they catch any feelings along the way...

It's a movie that slowly moves forward. It feels exactly as long as its runtime, but that's not a bad thing - because at no point did I find it bothersome to watch. And it's not like that it goes forward in an unpredictable manner - no, it's pretty conventional, but oh dear if it wasn't so charming to watch. Pretty early on I decided that I liked these characters and it was fun to spend time with them. The movie looks fabulous, almost perfect, even.

What a terrific mood the movie occupies. There is the constant melancholy, that longing for the past that you remember as better than it probably was. But still you see it as an indescribable loss. But at the same time the movie is completely in the moment, the here & now, with changed and continuously changing people. Some might say that this is one of those typical nothing happens movies, but I disagree - Hee-su's character seems to be happening all the time, going through believable, but most importantly understandable emotions. It's a slight smile of a movie.

And there are laughs in it. Not really laugh-out-loud moments, but the laughs your everyday life may or may not generate. At some point I was so taken in by the movie that everything else just kinda slipped away for a while. I did describe it as "conventional" earlier, but there is something unconventional about how the movie seems to work its magic. It's like I knew a few of the things we'd pass along the way but the route between remained a mystery and full of little surprises, moments that play out just peculiarly enough to give it a fresh and original feeling.

It's pretty much romantic and visual bliss from start to end. It gets me into a mood I'm comfy in. Forget everything for a while, spend some time in Seoul with Hee-su and Byeong-woo, slowly cracking that slight smile in the process and coming away, maybe, a little bit happier.

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